Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Daniel 3:24

In the past few years, I feel like I’ve really come into my own as an at-home cook. In fact, I’ve proved to myself that I can take the heat and stay in the kitchen!

But, as those of us culinary rangers know, getting your sauté on doesn’t come without a price: a little pain.

Recently, I remember the timer going off and needing to take something out of a hot oven when it was finished baking. So I got my two handy-dandy potholders and proceeded to pull out the top rack from the oven. But no sooner did I touch the rack than did searing pain shoot through my finger. For the love!!!

I looked down and saw that a small hole had worn through the potholder—exactly in the spot where my finger was gripping onto the hot rack. For days afterward I had a throbbing sensation. My finger was hot, and it blistered. I didn’t forget that experience, and every time I’ve reached for the oven rack since then, I always always double-check my potholder.

I guess life is a lot like these kitchen adventures as well. Some days everything just comes together: a little of this, a dash of that and voila! Everything has turned out just tasty and great. More please!

Then there are the days when you feel the heat and get burned. You have the best of intentions and feel like you’re trusting God and obeying his instructions for holy living. But then you try this or reach for that, and BAM. You find yourself in the fire. It’s hot. It hurts. And you’re pretty sure you don’t see Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego walking around with you, let alone the comforting presence of the Most High God in your midst.

I went through a particular painful trial like this recently, and I instinctively looked around and wondered where God was in all of it. Why was he letting this happen? Didn’t he know? Didn’t he care? Couldn’t he see how hard it was and how deeply wounded I now was as a result?

A few days later, thankfully, God gave me some much-needed perspective. From his Word (1 Peter 4:12), and also amazingly from someone I was interviewing for an article who wasn’t even talking about anything spiritual whatsoever, he spoke to me:

I am here. I see your pain. I know what you’re going through. When you are weak, I am strong. I will make something good out of all of this. You will learn and grow from this experience as you are being refined and becoming more and more like me.

I wept when I realized what God was saying to me. He wasn’t far away at all. I was the one who had shriveled up into a little ball and blocked out his Truth from my ears with my tears. And when I looked up, the Father was there with arms open wide, ready to lift my head, comfort my heart and give me peace.

While I still have an emotional scar from the heat of that trial, I also have the healing joy that results in growing closer to the Lord. And I’m pretty sure no baked goods’ comforting aroma will ever be able to compare.  

Intersecting Faith & Life:

When your life “heats up,” what do you do? Where do you turn? How do you cope? Think about the fiery trials you’ve experienced lately. How did you respond? Now, ask God to help you see him there—and how he is working in you—in their midst.

Further Reading:

Isaiah 53:5

2 Corinthians 2:8

James 1:2

“beautiful”
Words & Music: MercyMe

You’re beautiful; You’re beautiful
You were made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his


**To listen to the audio/podcast version of this crosswalk devotional, please click here.